O WHAT A GOOD WAR IT WAS! What a good war this is turning out to be for George W. Bush. First, he gets to exorcise all kinds of Oedipal ghosts: He gets to avenge his father against the man who tried to kill old Poppy. (Hamlet would be proud.) He gets to one-up his father by finishing the war his father started. And he gets to prove to war-hero dad that little Georgie, too, is a real man, with even bigger, um, guns. Second, the war has already provided Bush with a perfect hero: a 19-year-old soldier from a small town in West Virginia who was ambushed by the enemy, who went down with guns blazing before being taken captive, who incurred relatively photogenic wounds (mostly broken limbs), who could be rescued by equally heroic special ops teams representing all the services, and who tells Mom and Dad back home that all this soldier wants now is some home-grown strawberries and the chance to be a school teacher. Oh, yeah, and best of all: She’s a girl! What photo opportunities are in store for the Rose Garden! What movies to be made! (An aside: Wonder what women will make of Pfc. Jessica Lynch. Is she a role model for her military derring-do? Or is she that all-time feminist embarrassment: the damsel in distress who needed rescuing by the boys?) Third, this is the first war that could actually make a profit. After it’s over, and the U.S. has control of the oil fields, it will be time to “rebuild” the country we’ve just torn up. And who will do the rebuilding? Why, American companies, of course. Which companies? Gosh, how about Bechtel? How about Halliburton? How about Lucent and Fluor? Let’s see, anybody else who made a big contribution to the Republican war chest back in 2000? And they’ll all be paid out of Iraqi oil sales. We will have liberated the Iraqis and at the same time liberated their money right into American hands. Fourth, not too many U.S. soldiers have gotten killed in this war--not enough, anyway, to generate a big public backlash against the war, but just enough to prove that it wasn’t a cakewalk. The President can now puff and preen about the courage and training of our “men in uniform,” as if he were one of them. He can salute his way through all kinds of speeches in front of friendly audiences on army/navy/airforce bases. He can commander-in-chief his way to ever higher numbers in the popularity polls. And he can have tasteful little weeping sessions away from the cameras’ eyes with the families of dead soldiers, thereby proving his compassion, too. He will have proved, as Reagan, Bush Sr. and Clinton proved before him in places like Grenada, Kuwait and Kosovo, that, yes, a Kevlar-coated Stealth pilot with night-vision technology and laser-guided bombs can indeed defeat a blind man with a blunderbuss on the field of battle. Fifth, the war will have clarified just who our friends and enemies are--a handy thing for a president with as Manichean a mind as George Bush. (Here’s a curiosity for you: Mani, the philosopher who developed the philosophy of Manicheanism, which divides the world neatly into good and evil, darkness and light, the godly and the ungodly, was born just outside of Baghdad. So George Bush’s world view is basically Iraqi in origin. I like that.) Anyway, thanks to this war, we now know that Britain, Spain and the former Soviet states in Eastern Europe like Latvia and Bulgaria are our friends. We also know that the perfidious French and Germans are our enemies, along with the Russians (but we always knew about the Russians). North Korea and Iran--bad. Lithuania and Estonia--good. Turkey--bad yesterday, good today. (Another aside: It’s been curious to watch Donald Rumsfeld vis a vis the “coalition of the willing” at his press briefings during this war. He keeps saying that “there are over 45 countries in the coalition, representing over 1 1/2 billion people in the world.” Of course, this means that there are more than 145 countries not in the coalition, representing over 4 1/2 billion people. One has to ask: In Rummy’s mind, does the math add up to world-wide support?) Sixth, the “war” part of the war is getting over fast. It has hardly even tested the attention span of the American public. Oh, there may be a few street fights still to come, but the big story is just about finished. What remains is nothing but a little dusting. So a car bomb goes off here or there, and for the next couple of years an occasional American soldier is picked off by a sniper in the alleys of Baghdad. Heck, the important thing is, we won every big battle there was, and we have the tv footage to prove it. Finally, the war will have proved to the Rumsfeld/Cheney/Wolfowitz/Perle/Rice cabal that the strategy of preemptive war works, and that the doctrine of doing whatever is necessary to maintain lopsided U.S. military supremacy in the world is correct. From now on, whenever the U.S. wants to invade or bomb somebody--oh, let’s say Libya or Syria or Iran--all it has to do is cite this week’s war as precedent. So what if China or Russia now start to ratchet up their war spending out of fear or envy. Presumably we’ll bomb them, too, if we have to. For now, then, the war in Iraq looks to be an immense success for George W. Bush. Once we find those elusive weapons of mass destruction that the White House will make sure we find, everything will be taken care of. For Bush’s people, there’s no need to look any farther down the road than today. No need to wonder if some of the 5,000 or so would-be martyrs who ran to Iraq to fight the Americans might decide that it makes more sense to make their way to a New York subway tunnel or a St. Louis bridge or a California nuclear facility. No need to worry if that next terrorist attack on U.S. soil might spur John Ashcroft once and for all to declare that the Bill of Rights is a luxury we can no longer afford. No need to be concerned that the streets of Chicago and San Francisco may for our grandchildren be as tense as the streets of Tel Aviv, with every movie theater and pizza parlor a target for suicide bombers. No, no need to worry about next week. This week’s war was just swell. READERS RESPOND: Thanks for havin' the courage to write the truth about this "war".. Us "37%" outcasts sure appreciate it !! I'm shocked at the blind support given to this war, by people who have no idea what they are really supporting. Most of these people can't spell "Passport", and have never been anywhere..! I saw a POLL that made me naucious just yesterday, in which 2/3rds of Americans voted that now is not the time to protest the war -- begging the question then, of, when IS it alright to protest ?? Perhaps when there is nothing to protest at all, leading up to my theory that the blind majority is totally and utterly unconnected with the art of sincere protest. I wish you would study the effects and statistics of civilian casualties, also. There is always propoganda surrounding "civilian casualties".. I was sippin' a beer in a bar in Laos a year or two ago when some Pom tried to tell me that we had killed 10 million Iraqi's in the past 10 years.. Propoganda, regardless of which side it comes from, makes me sick -- are turning the lights out don't even know what they're doing.. Furthermore, and falling under the category of "perception" that I believe is critical when you are in the shoes we as a country wear today, history will never forget that WE struck first.!! Just like Hitler with Poland, we spread propoganda that caused our people to fear an enemy that wasn't about to do a damned thing to us, and then we struck hard and merciless... To us it's a sporting event, but to a lot of people in a lot of places, this shit's for real !!! Thanks for , surprisingly, being one of the only people in Memphis that I've heard have the courage to voice what time will show is right -- whether "they" ever figure it out or not that they are committing a terrible sin... (and I hate that whole "us" and "them" concept as well,,,) J.G. Brewer I was pleasantly surprised to see your article specially in this 50 years behind the rest of the country town. (Oops,I think they call it a modern city, actually the best city in the world if you speak to anyone from here, although they have never been anywhere else) I have been saying everything that you said since before the war started and of course have been accused of being anti-American even by my own husband. So prepare yourself for the nasty emails. Good luck Aurelia Garvey It just must be awful to be you. David Hinske Typical liberal sarcastic column! As if the Bush administration has just fallen into "dumb luck" with this war. You also assume that their purpose for this war is primarily for political and egotistical reasons. That was the purpose of the Clinton regime. This war is against terrorism. It is ludicrous to think that terrorism/ 911/ and Sadam Hussein's Iraqi regime are mutually exclusive. They are not! I guess we should have just let the impotent, incompetent, and irrelevant UN continue to tell us that we have not given Weapons Inspections a chance. While Sadam Hussein and other terrorists plot against the infidels of the United States. This strategy of "burying our head in the sand" is what allowed 911 to happen. I can appreciate that you may not share the social/economic policies of this administration and under our constitution everyone has the right to vote and voice their own opinion. But let me remind you that the freedom you have to voice your opinion is threatened each day we allow evil regimes who aggressively encourage their people and others to commit acts of terrorism against the United States and our Allies.....especially a regime like Sadam Hussein's who has been actively trying to build weapons of mass destruction for that purpose. Ask the liberated Iraqis about their ability to voice their opinions against the Hussein administration. The ones who did that are dead. Scott Suddoth Great article. I didn't expect to find it here. I was looking for info on UM basketball but started reading and couldn't stop. We all need to wake up. We are being Bush-whacked. Jim Hadaway (St. Petersburg, FL)

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